Archive

Meandering Musings

I just read a great blog post at Nerdfitness.com. It’s about   picking a super hero persona…one to help you power through your goals.

“Make the superhero version of yourself do all of the things that you’re afraid of or struggling with. Why? Because superheroes attack problems in way different ways than a normal cubicle dweller. That’s why they exist – to do stuff that ordinary people can’t.”

I love this idea. When I feel too tired to workout, my super hero won’t, when I’m discouraged, my super hero will be thinking of ways to solve problems and save the world. Kind of like an imaginary friend, but better…because it isn’t imaginary. It is just  me.

I like “The Magnet” — attracting needed energy and resources. What do you think? Who will you choose?

  • Photo Credit: iStockphoto

Christmas is over, New Year’s Eve has come and gone, and I am eagerly looking forward to a brand new year. But before I hurl myself toward the goals and plans I have for 2012, I want to take a quick peek back at a few personal highlights from 2011:

-Finally, I learned how to hula hoop at age 44.
-Resumed my college studies and got A’s in English 282 (Fiction Writing), Communication 101, and Biology 201.
-Took a blogging class in the spring and blogged consistently from April to August.
-Celebrated 26 years of marriage to the man who is truly my other half.
-Rode my bicycle as often as possible this summer using any excuse I could find: lunch downtown with a girlfriend, hitting the Saturday farmers market, the Boise Beer Festival, an autumn BSU football game, and of course the Tour De Fat bike parade.
-Laughed and chatted my way through my first mud run (with Susan at Bogus Basin).
-Settled into my third year of managing an elementary school kitchen.
-Wept tears of happy pride mixed with sadness as my youngest child moved out on his own.
-Spent our first Thanksgiving in CA with my family since moving to Idaho 19 years ago.
-Kindled a passion for singing Led Zeppelin karaoke.
Overall, it was a very good year. Here’s to a bright and bold 2012 — cheers!

My friend Janet Hawkins Moore is eating local during the month of January (in Boise, Idaho…not as easy as some more temperate climates). Looking at her first day’s post, it looks like a delicious initiative.

When I first saw Janet’s  post about eating local, I thought “Good idea, and since I already do a lot of local shopping, it won’t be hard”. But, I’m realizing it takes a lot more planning than I anticipated, at least in the beginning.

And, since I didn’t want to rock the boat too much on New Year’s Day, I simply monitored my normal eating (we had some great food yesterday…including leftover cake for breakfast and spicy shrimp for dinner! Yeehaw!) Turns out, only about 20% of the ingredients I used were local (fresh pasta, local milk, local honey) and although I buy organic vegetables from Brown Box Organics and The Boise Co-op, I’m not actually sure if they are locally grown.

So…this will be a learning adventure.

The Plan: Eat entirely local one day per week this month. Observe and chronicle my observations and learnings.

Stay posted! This week’s local day is Thursday. I’ll post my first “findings” then.

Happy New Year!

I get it now….the  joy and rapture felt by the mean food critic in the movie, “Ratatouille.” Do you remember that scene…the emotion, the memories, the savoring every single bite???

After I saw the movie, I made ratatouille for the first time. It was ok. Nothing special; probably because I used out-of-season ingredients. (tisk, tisk—I should know better.)

Monday night, I made it using the freshest of ingredients from my garden, from Jennifer’s garden and from the Farmer’s market, including unbelievably flavorful tomatoes and a variety of eggplants (purple striped ones, yellow and purple ones, white ones—and yes, I should have taken a picture but my camera wasn’t charged). Plus, onions, garlic, red bell peppers and thyme.

After assembling the ratatouille, I had some leftover onions and peppers and decide to do a little “test.” I decided to roast the extra veggies on a cookie sheet with olive oil, salt and pepper–just like I normally do. And then, I’d bake the ratatouille at the same time.

What an eye opener…the roasted vegetables were fine…slightly dry and smoky with good flavor. BUT, the ratatouille was oozing and dripping with flavors from the garden…the onions at the bottom of the casserole were tender and amazing…all the flavors melded together, while also keeping their unique individual essence (Can you see me channeling that food critic from the movie? Yes, that’s what happened on my front porch while I ate dinner. Now wouldn’t that  have made a great photo?!).

I based my casserole on a recipe in Mark Bittman’s ” How To Cook Everything” cookbook,  but I disregarded quantities and just did one layer of each.

Ingredients (forget all that measuring–just go for it )

Eggplants
Bell Peppers
Tomatoes
Onions

Garlic
Thyme
Salt & Pepper
Great Parmesan Cheese (I added this…liked the idea of a little salty extra)

In casserole pan:

Spread a little olive oil on the bottom of the pan, then a layer of sliced onions, next a layer of red bell peppers, followed by a layer of eggplant, topped with a layer of thick sliced tomatoes. Sprinkle whole, peeled garlic cloves on top, and fresh thyme (leaves from 6-8 good size sprigs), a generous amount of salt & pepper and then drizzle olive oil on top (maybe 1-2 Tbs). Cook until all the veggies are soft.

At 30 minutes, I checked on vegetables and flattened the casserole with a spatula, did the same at 40 minutes plus added a little Parmesan cheese on top, and at 45 minutes it was complete.

Baked in a 400 degree oven.

 Yes, I’m in love with ratatouille.

(So much so, that I will be continuing my love fest this weekend with a Ratatouille Cornmeal Tart recipe!)

UPDATE September 21: Ratatouille Tart was tasty, but not as mesmerizing as the simple Ratatouille. Looked gorgeous though! As did my daughter’s Tomato Pie, in the background.

 

Check out this cool peak season map. It’s a fun way to see what ingredients are in season this month and what you have to look forward to at the Farmer’s Market  in the coming months (assuming you do that type of thing!)

Pick a  month on the top border, then click on your state and voilà. Fun, and easy.

Thanks go out to Fran for forwarding this link!

© Alisonh29 | Dreamstime.com

This summer, we (Jennifer and Susan) will be hosting monthly
community dinners. We will shop at the Boise Downtown Farmer’s Market on
Saturday and buy fresh, in-season, reasonably priced ingredients (we are going
to the market without a shopping list; instead, we’ll be looking for what’s most
appealing THAT DAY). Then, using those ingredients, we will make a meal to be
shared with friends on Sunday evening.

Our goal is to

  • Spend time with old friends and hopefully new ones
  • Buy local
  • Eat healthy (plus, we will share all recipes!)
  • Build community

Since this is our first hosted Sunday Supper, we are limiting attendance to 20 adults + whatever kiddos are attached to those adults.

 What: Sunday Farmer’s Market Supper

When: Sunday June 12th, starting at 5pm. Dinner served
around 6.

Where: Susan’s House

What to bring: Drinks for yourself and/or to share

Contribution: We are asking for a $15 contribution per adult. The
goal is to break-even between contributions and costs. If we have extra, we
will put it towards a couple bottles of wine, or redistribute to the group.

RSVP: Please reserve your spot by Thursday, June 9th. And
let us know how many kids will be joining you.

EXTRA FUN BONUS: For this first supper, we will have 48 bottles of home brew (made locally by friends) to share.

Signs of Spring in Susan's Front Yard

I have a few new favorite blogs, and there is a common thread among them: finding the beauty in life. Whether it’s having dessert for breakfast, finding a remarkable subway station in Paris, or finding oneself by interacting with the world, these blogs all share with their readers the beautiful things in life.

Seeing the beauty of the world through others eyes, helps me recognize beauty in my own small circle of the world.

Check these blogs out, if you have a chance.  And, while you are doing it, I think I’ll make some popsicles for tomorrow’s Memorial Day Block Party Brunch (which is beautiful in its own right).

Desserts for Breakfast

Parisian Fields

Designer Wife